o brave new world that has such cellphones in it!

Small site update: I tweaked the comments form a tad. Now URLs starting with http:// and https:// will be shown as links that open in a new browser window, I made the comments box a tad larger, and I added a 'formatting guidelines' link that opens up a popup explaining what the comments thing does with HTML, URLs, and whitespace. Feedback (as always) welcome.

Oh, if you were wondering, the URL-to-link thing applies retroactively to previous comments people entered in.

Rant of the Moment
I do dig my new Samsung "SPH-A680" cellphone, the one with the built-in camcorder, and in general its UI is very well-designed. One thing about still seems absurd and annoying to me, however: who on earth (or, specifically, at Samsung) thought I needed 8 distinct levels of ringer volume? What kind of finesse do they think I need on this thing? "Oh, 4 was just a tad too soft, the countermelody of my ringtone was being muffled a bit, but 5 was just perfect!" No. I want off, vibrate, and LOUD. I could see having 2 or even 3 volume levels plus vibrate and off, but 8? The main reason it annoys me is because I have to cycle through all 8 volumes every time I set it down to vibrate.

Anyway, I checked, and it's probably 8 because there are 8 volume levels for voice, which makes more sense, since there's more of a dynamic range of volume for calls, and you need to be able to hear the other person without it being too loud. But still, the ringer volume is a classic case of engineer- and not user-centric design. (Or, misguided user-centric design, more options aren't always better.)

Site of the Moment
Retrofuture.com talks in depth about some of the futures that never were. Hrrm, I wonder what kind of minor annoyances these citizens of the future that never was had with their Robot XJ427? "Oh, it's great, but I just hate the way that it has 73 ways of cooking eggs, and always has to list them all for me, when I always just want scrambled!"

Trivial Pursuit Question of the Moment
What name did the World Meteorological Organization take off a list of hurricane names in 2001, after complaints from Jewish groups?

Trivial Pursuit
YEAH BABY! Rock you like a HURRICANE!!!
Well, not any more. But it looks like "Kirk" has been added to the name rotation, so there is that.